The History of Spain

The History of Spain

The History of Spain

The History of Spain

Synopsis

Every school and public library should update its resources on Spain with this lively and succinct narrative of Spain's long and rich historical experience. Emphasizing people rather than abstract developments, this narrative makes Spanish history readable and engaging. Based on the most recent scholarship, it examines the politics, society, economy, and culture of Spain chronologically, focusing on the last two centuries. Pierson, a noted authority on Spanish history, traces Spain's foundations in the Roman empire and Muslim conquest to its golden age in the late Middle Ages, its subsequent decline, and its struggle to build a democratic government and modern economy following the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The work provides a timeline of events in Spanish history, brief biographies of key figures, and a bibliographic essay of interest to students and general readers.

Excerpt

This narrative history of Spain for students and nonstudents alike reflects what educated Spaniards tend to know of their history. I hope the bibliography will prove useful to those who want to learn more. Although politics receives the chief emphasis, I have tried to weave into the text the concurrent history of society, religion, culture, and economics because people experience their history as a whole.

Spain is a country with powerful appeal and an exceptional history. Travel posters proclaim: España es diferente ("Spain is different"). I first visited Spain in 1956-1958, while serving in the U.S. Navy. I returned as a student in the summer of 1963 and spent 1964-1966 there as a Fulbright scholar. Since then I return to Spain every two or three years, and in my research and travel I have visited every part of the country.

I want to express my gratitude to Harry de Wildt, who knows Spain better than I do and who introduced me to much of its varied life; to my colleagues in the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, who have done much to further Americans' understanding of Spain and whose work I admire; to my friends and colleagues in Spain; and to my students at Santa Clara University over the years, who took my course on Spain and asked the kinds of questions and sought the sort of understanding I try to address here.

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